Sooners at 39-under through 36 in Puerto Rico, Georgia even hotter

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RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico – Chris Gotterup tied a program record and owns the 36-hole lead at the Puerto Rico Classic as No. 1 Oklahoma men’s golf posted a 19-under to close Monday’s round four shots back of No. 12 Georgia.

Gotterup’s 14-under score vs. par matches Garett Reband’s program record, set at the 2018 Carmel Cup. In addition, the Sooners’ 39-under mark through two days of play at the three-day, 54-hole event shatters the previous program best of 32-under through 36 holes. Drew Goodman joined Gotterup in the clean-card club Monday, as the two combined for 16 birdies and zero bogeys, posting matching 64s (-8).

“Proud of our guys today,” head coach Ryan Hybl said. “Drew (Goodman) did a great job getting back in the game today and he putted way better, which allowed him to get it going. Chris (Gotterup) closed strong again, and his game is in very good shape. Vinny (Welch) picked up a nice birdie on the last hole to make lunch taste just a bit better. Overall, we will need to clean up a few things before tomorrow.”

Gotterup (1, -14) opened his day with a birdie on the par-5 fourth hole and posted two more circles on the front of his card before catching fire on the back nine of the par-72 7,152-yard Grand Reserve GC. The redshirt senior collected birdies on Nos. 10 and 12 before sinking back-to-back-to-back birds to close with a season-low 64 (-8). He maintains a one-stroke lead over Georgia’s Trent Phillips entering the final round.

“Everything was just good today for me, nothing too crazy honestly,” Gotterup said after the round. “I did what I needed to do and I’m happy with that. Yesterday was really the same sort of thing, and I bogeyed 15 yesterday and that fired me up to where I finished strong yesterday and that carried into today.”

Gotterup is in line for his second consecutive medalist honor after winning the individual race at the East Lake Cup last fall. If the All-American, who entered the week as the nation’s top-ranked golfer, can win on Tuesday, he would earn a spot in the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open, held March 3-6 at the Grand Reserve Golf Club, the same site as this week’s PRC.

“It’s going to take another really solid round tomorrow to win,” Gotterup added. “There are a ton of very good golfers on a pretty easy golf course so someone’s going to do something. I just have to keep doing my thing and keep it rolling.”

Goodman (T11, -8), a true freshman, carded four birdies on each side of his card to sign for a career-best 64 (-8) and move up 49 spots on the leaderboard into a tie for 11th. The Norman product made birdies on five of his final seven holes to climb into the top 15. His overall 136 (-8) beats his previous 36-hole low mark of 142 at the Carmel Cup, where he finished T6.

Patrick Welch (3, -12), who set a program record for score vs. par Sunday at 10-under, posted two birdies on the back nine to move under-par for the day and claim solo third entering the final round. His 12-under score through 36 is now tied for second all-time at Oklahoma, trailing only Gotterup and Reband.

Logan McAllister (T32, -4) posted a 1-under 71 Monday, tallying 10 pars and two birdies over his final 12 holes. Stephen Campbell Jr. (T50, -2) matched his opening-round score of 71 on Monday to share 50th at 2-under.

Ben Lorenz (T24, -6) and Jaxon Dowell (T50, -2) are competing as individuals in the tournament.

As a program, Oklahoma is in the midst of its most successful stretch in program history and is in line to post its 25th top-three finish in its last 26 regular-season tournaments. A top-three placement would be the team’s 42nd since 2017, and if the Sooners can overcome Georgia and win on Tuesday, it would be the program’s 46th all-time victory and 32nd of the Ryan Hybl era, which started in 2009. In addition, it would mark the 19th win since 2016-17.

“We’re going to have to dominate the par-5s tomorrow,” Hybl said of Tuesday’s strategy. “I believe that our start is equally as important as the finish, so we’ll look to get after it early if the hole locations allow for it.”

No. 1 Oklahoma tees off Tuesday at 5:30 a.m. CT with No. 12 Georgia (1, -43) and No. 8 Tennessee (3, -32) in a shotgun start. Live scoring will be available on Golfstat.


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Ken MacLeod

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